Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is optimistic that foreign visitors to the country may hit the 1.7 million mark in 2018. This will be up from the 1.3 million foreign arrivals in 2017.
According to UTB’s chief executive Stephen Asiimwe, the preliminary figures gleaned from civil aviation and immigration services indicate a significant increase in arrivals in the region of 1.7 million from 1.3 million.
If confirmed, that would be an increase of 400,000 visitors – that is tourists and those visiting for conferences, business and so forth.
Asiimwe says a number of airlines have reported an increase in number of flights and passenger numbers.
The UTB chief says they have recruited market destination representatives who have been selling the country in the West, the East and some African countries like South Africa and Nigeria, to impact of which is being felt.
Asiimwe says this year has seen a number of high profile conferences and meetings which brought in many visitors, as well as visits by sports people.
According to Asiimwe, turning aerodromes like Arua, Kisoro and Gulu into international airports, in addition to Entebbe, has also contributed to more arrivals.
In addition to the air arrivals, Asiimwe says arrivals by road from neighbouring countries like Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have also increased.
Asiimwe says the number of hotels in the country has shot up and many are doing well, suggesting they are hosting more foreign visitors.
According to Asiimwe, many foreigners who studied in Uganda like returning and many come with their friends.
Last year UTB estimates that 1.3 foreigners visited Uganda bringing in 1.4 billion dollars in revenues.